As Shira Ruskay was dying of cancer in 1997, Debbie Friedman, whose concert schedule was crowded with gigs around the country, kept another, more intimate commitment in Manhattan, with unfailing regularity. ?Once a month we gathered with Debbie, and she uniquely wove together prayer and Torah,? recalled Ruskay?s husband, John Ruskay, executive vice president of UJA-Federation of New York, in an e-mail to the Forward. ?After one healing service, Shira looked to the heavens and proclaimed, ?Who dies like this?!?11
If an American communist website publishes a statement issued by a Palestinian terrorist group, has the communist website committed a crime? That?s a question that some Midwestern activists could face as grand jury hearings approach for members of pro-Palestinian and left-wing groups who have received subpoenas in recent months from federal prosecutors.23
Gal Beckerman?s comprehensive history of the popular movement to save Soviet Jews in the latter half of the 20th century is the winner of the Jewish Book of the Year Award, the Jewish Book Council announced January 11. ?When They Come for Us, We?ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle To Save Soviet Jewry,? written by Forward staff writer Beckerman and published in September by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, tracks a quarter-century of efforts from the grassroots to the geopolitical in the United States and the Soviet Union to allow Soviet Jews to emigrate from the land where they were neither allowed to practice Judaism nor permitted to leave.
Deborah Lynn Friedman, the beloved and influential composer and singer who transformed contemporary American Jewish prayer and music, died Sunday of complications of pneumonia. She would have turned 60 in February.8
The synagogue where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a member held a healing service in her honor Sunday — one day after the Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head outside of Tucson supermarket. She had been meeting with constituents at the time of the attack, which killed six and wounded 14.
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